PMP Lessons Learned


Age Doesn’t Matter, If You’re Committed – Vishal Sawhney, PMP

Dear Shiv, although I came across your website quite late for my preparations, it gave me valuable inputs and tips for the PMP exam preparation. My target was to pass the exam in the 1st attempt no matter what proficiency I get.

pmp vishal sawhney Time and again I was reading the contributions of other aspirants and their success stories. It was so useful for me. I would definitely like to share my experience here so it can help PMP students.

At the age of 46 years the decision itself was very tough when your cognitive and learning skills both slow down. Also, traveling by Metro (Noida to my home town) for my office and back to home consumed at least six hours each day. It consumed my energy, time, money and concentration. Nevertheless I developed the habit of concentrating and studying while traveling, often standing during rush hours.

It took me overall 6 months to prepare for the exam. But my actual study was only of the last one month.

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Sharing my PMP Study Plan: Sachidevi, PMP

Hi Shiv, happy to share that I have completed PMP on 29th April on my first try with little over 3 months of preparation. I am sharing my PMP study plan and lessons here, with a hope that it will help PMP students..

My PMP study plan consisted of 3 study resources, and four rounds of systematic and focused study. I also used a combination of ‘test project’, self-study notes, mock tests and brain-dump as study strategies.

pmp sachi deviStudy sources I used

PM PrepCast online PMP video course
PMBOK Edition 5
PMESN PMPBOOKS (from Shiv) – Especially, the sample questions (300Q+250Q), Formula guide, Type of Questions, Mind Maps & Test Taking Strategies

My PMP study plan

I created my own study plan in terms of a ‘project’ – that I could apply the processes to as I studied them! This helped me understand the concepts with better clarity.

The other thing that helped me is that I fixed a target date for my exam, and planned backwards to create study plan. Having the exam date fixed had another advantage: it helped me focus better on my studies..

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Apply PMBOK Processes to a Sample Project: Mohammed Ajaz, PMP

I got PMP certification in Jan 2016, it was a nice experience. Preparation for exam is a journey that helped me bring my project management skills and knowledge to next level. When I started preparation for exam, I asked this question to myself – Why do I need PMP certification?

pmbok process mohammed ajazThe answer was personal growth. So if this certification is for personal growth then I will have to learn and expend my knowledge to become better project manager.

I am in project management profession for eight years now and have completed dozens of successful projects; my mind was trained to perform project management activities based on my experience. However I knew that basing experience to prepare for PMP wasn’t going to cut it. Training my mind to think like a “PMI project manager” was a challenge.

People who are in project management domain know there are several ways to perform project management activities. All of them may be right, but how do I choose the best course of action? This is why I needed to study PMBOK thoroughly.

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Keep Things Simple & Try Mock Tests: Navneet Khajuria, PMP

Initial prep

I planned for PMP in the December 2014 and first thing I did was bought HeadFirst book, because I like to keep things simple.

Navneet Khajuria pmpHeadfirst explains the things in easy way. However it does not cover all the topics for the exam but give u basic understanding of the concepts.

Gaining momentum

After going through HeadFirst book twice with slow pace, in December 2015 I enrolled for the KnowledgeWoods training and also joined’s Facebook community page. That is when I hit the top gear for my studies.

Post training, I reviewed all the concepts once again from the training material given by KW and then started taking mock exams.

It is important to take the mock exam but it is more important to review the questions and answers as well to get the understanding of the concepts.

I observed my weakness in certain areas like Quality and Procurement knowledge areas, and revised it.

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Get a Mentor to Accelerate PMP Exam Prep: Bich Phuong Dang, PMP

My PMP Preparation

I started reading the PMBOK back in 2013 and as I read it I started making notes and important points on index cards. But I was not motivated reading this book until I found a mentor who could help me moving on on my studies.

I knew that I could find a lot of resources and advice on the Internet but I felt I needed to be supported by somebody with one-on-one discussion. I found one and started asking my mentor to explain me difficult concepts.

bich pmpI found that Rita Mulcahy’s book is a very good complementary resource to the PMBOK. It explains a lot of concepts/formulas that are not in the PMBOK yet are part of the exam. So I highly recommend you to get the Rita book. Just make sure to have the latest version of it.

Once I finished reading the PMBOK I started doing sample questions. I did as many mock exams as possible and noted down questions for which I did not understand why the given answers were right. Then, I asked my mentor for explanation.

In order to motivate myself, I planned a meeting with my mentor one week in advance and this forced me to do as many hard mock exams as possible so that I would have questions to ask my mentor.

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Practice Mock Tests Focusing on Situational Questions: Karthik Ganesan, PMP

Shiv, I have around 15 years of experience and handled quite a few projects of various sizes. I had plans to complete PMP examination, started many times but dropped in between due to some or the other distractions.

Finally I made up my mind to complete this examination last November. I tried to complete before the updated exam but couldn’t do it. So with many advice from many others I thought of not to worry about the new pattern. And finally had the big success and would proudly say that I am a PMP certified.

pmp mock tests karthik ganesanSome of the tips and how I did this.

Exam preparation

I started to read PMBOK, and one of my friend who is a PMP certified acted like a mentor and used to take classes whenever he found time. I too made it a point to read 1 hour a day.

I started seriously during December and completed first round of Rita Mulchay, Head first and many other articles, blogs which I could read it through internet.

From January onwards I started attempting sample questions every day, looking at one knowledge area at a time.

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I Prefer Online PMP Training for Its Multiple Benefits: Rohan Halwalkar, PMP

Shiv, I cleared my PMP exam on 25th Feb on my 1st Attempt.
My preparation time – 90 days.

Study books

1) Head First PMP
2) PMBOK (you can get for free if you are PMI’s member)
3) PMP Exam Prep by Rita Mulcahy

Training (& 35hr contact education requirement from PMI)

pmp rohan halwalkarInstead of classroom training I went for Online training. My benefits were that of studying in chunks irrespective of the location and duration. I could always go back and forth and relearn difficult concepts. I went with PM PrepCast by Cornelius Fichtner.

Mock Exam resources

I was selective here as I did not want to get overwhelmed. Here are two that I selected –

1) PM Exam Simulator by Cornelius Fichtner
2) Oliver Lehmann’s PMP App

My study approach

1) For procrastinators like me, paying the exam fee was one way to get committed to exam preparation.

2) I would say decide on a study strategy & STICK to it. Don’t add any more resources to your list especially when you are very close to the exam date. I did the opposite & wasted some money & time on this.

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